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Photo#1398593
Pipevine Swallowtail ovipositing on Virginia Snakeroot - Battus philenor - female

Pipevine Swallowtail ovipositing on Virginia Snakeroot - Battus philenor - Female
Martin County, Indiana, USA
July 3, 2017
This is the first time I've actually seen a Pipevine Swallowtail laying her eggs on Virginia Snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria).

Virginia Snakeroot is a small, insignificant-looking plant, but after a while she was able to locate some deep in the woodland. Her excitement was remarkable. Her behaviour changed significantly the instant she "tasted" and approved it--circling the plant exuberantly several times before beginning to lay her precious eggs. Sometimes she laid four or more eggs on a 3 inch plant. A plant you wouldn't think could possibly sustain a single larva.

I've seen hungry young caterpillars wandering around looking for food at a park near San Antonio, Texas where the hostplant is also fairly small, Aristolochia erecta (Swanflower). They seemed to have consumed every leaf in sight.